The Times moans about the au pair taking a break for Christmas, everyone is mildly annoyed

Times2 ran a tongue-in-cheek article on Tuesday, trailed on the front page, headlined: 'Help! My cleaner's off for the holidays'.

Inside the paper, journalist Esther Walker wrote about the trials and tribulations of life without paid help when the kids are off school and your partner appears to be unwilling to lift a finger to help.

Something terrible is about to happen in my little area of north London. In the next few days all the cleaners and ironing ladies, housekeepers and au pairs we hire to keep ourselves sane, our marriages together and our children in clean pants will go home for Christmas.

Walker's right, of course: hosting family celebrations and making sure the kids are entertained can be the most tiring two weeks of the year - especially if you're the harried host and everyone else is enjoying themselves.

Twitter however broke out all the tiny violins for a journalist who gets paid help with the childcare and housework for 50 weeks of the year:

The Times' tips on how to survive a family Christmas without help are:

  • Outsource your laundry
  • The dishwasher is your best friend
  • Don't start drinking until you've cleaned up first
  • Book a massage or facial when you hit rock bottom
  • Leave the vacuum out so you are reminded to use it
  • Get your kids to help
  • Frozen food is also your friend

But... I think to myself, other women don’t have that choice. Other women make it work with a job and kids and no help. I could do it, I’d just have to work harder.

So when my au pair goes away I see the two weeks as a sort of penance I have to do to pay for how spoilt I am the rest of the year.

It struck us that maybe Walker's husband should be helping out.

But what do we know.

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